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A Periodic Reminder About OSHA Recordkeeping

Recordkeeping is not a sexy issue to write about, but I would be remiss if I did not periodically remind our readers about their recordkeeping obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

First and foremost, don’t forget that the March 2, 2020 deadline for electronically filing OSHA 300A data — the summary of the company’s recordable injuries and illnesses for calendar year 2019 — is fast approaching. Many employers — law firms, for example — are not required to report this data. However, employers with more than 250 employees and which are not “partially exempt” from the OSHA recordkeeping rules are required to electronically file their OSHA 300A. Additionally, employers in certain high-hazard industries with more than 20 but fewer than 250 employees are also required to electronically file.

While the Trump administration rescinded the Obama proposal requiring employers to electronically file their OSHA 300 and OSHA 301 forms, you should not forget that you are still required to maintain these forms. They will probably be the first records that your local OSHA inspector will ask for when he arrives at your worksite, and if you are asked for these records, the regulations require that you produce them within four hours. This is also one of those situations where OSHA is not required to ask for a subpoena.

If you are fortunate to be on the list of “partially exempt” industries (e.g., most offices, many retail establishments, etc.), you are not required to keep any federal OSHA injury records. Nevertheless, you do have an obligation to report fatalities within eight hours and to report amputations, the loss of an eye, or the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees resulting from a workplace hazard within 24 hours. Not surprisingly, determining whether a hospitalization or fatality is work-related is not always simple. You may not need to report the heart attack of the employee who is sitting in the parking lot or eating lunch in the employee cafeteria, but you probably should report the heart attack of the employee who had been carrying work boxes up the stairs. When in doubt, however, it’s probably a good idea to get some advice from a health and safety manager or a lawyer with OSHA expertise.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.